BOSTON (CBS) – Ten years ago Friday, everything changed for the New England Patriots.
On September 23, 2001 the Patriots were taking on the New York Jets at Foxboro Stadium. Drew Bledsoe was the starting quarterback. He was being chased, by now-Patriot Shaun Ellis when Mo Lewis caught him and delivered a mighty blow. That hit left Drew with a collapsed lung, and dethroned him from the starting line-up. He was “Wally Pipped” by Tom Brady and the rest, as they say, is history.
Tom Brady went on to lead the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories and become one of the best to ever play the sport. Drew Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo that off-season. Although he spent most of the season on the bench watching Brady lead his team, Bledsoe did come back to help the Pats win the 2001 AFC Championship game. It was a win he calls one of his most shining achievements.
On Friday, Shaun Ellis reflected on the moment.
“I was chasing him, we got to the sideline and I dove to try to knock the ball out,” explained Ellis. “I guess he reached back to get the ball and that’s when Mo Lewis hit him. I remember, you know if someone gets the wind knocked out of him, but I didn’t know the extent of the injury. I didn’t know until after the game.”
“You don’t know, you just go out there and try to play the game of football,” Ellis said, reflecting how much history was changed by the hit. “A lot of things like that have happened in the past, where guys go down and the next guy steps in. The next thing you know he’s a Hall of Famer. That’s how it is.”
Amazing to think how different the Patriots organization would be if it weren’t for Ellis chasing Bledsoe to the sideline, and Lewis delivering the knockout hit.
Tune in to the Patriots-Bills game Sunday at 1:00 pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Tune in to Patriots Gameday at 11:30am on WBZ-TV and The Sports Hub’s pregame coverage, beginning at 10:00 am. After the game tune in to the Postgame show on 98.5, and to Patriots Fifth Quarter on TV38.